As anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in a conversation with me for more than ten minutes can attest, my research of Nuclear Misadventure has become a major hobby. I believe the fashionable term is “passion project” — one that basically everyone i’ve ever met has passionately projected themselves away from, when the subject arises. And who can blame them? Reality’s, like, a total bummer.
Unfortunately for myself i, unlike The Entire World, find it fascinating, or at least notable, that Western culture has spent the last century busily, quietly saturating every cranny of our one & only fragile planet with invisible, tasteless, odorless, indestructible, highly unstable ionizing radioactive material that aggressively destroys & deforms the DNA of every living thing, on down through generations unseen.
And who couldn’t derive a bit of entertainment in the way we Americans are so quick to package this threat as a Good! Or, failing that, a Necessary Evil! Or, failing even that, Just Plain Nonexistent!
But, as possibly the last consciousness-cursed citizen of this God’s Greatest Nation [Made and Kept Great Through Constant Threat of Global Nuclear Destruction], i just so happen to have taken the 15 minutes of reading necessary to grasp the megaton-obvious fact that Our Friend the Atom, in all His various sacred stations before, during, and after weaponization, is a clear & way-too-present deleterious force upon the ebbs and flows of our meaningless yet precious little lives.
So you can imagine how excited i was to have stumbled across this little roadside attraction last week: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14614
Haha! They took one of human history’s most wretched, contaminated signposts to human folly, and turned it into a (literal) tourist (literal) trap! Which, natch, doubles as another tiresome, hubrissy performance of “See, it’s harmless!”
Ugh. Very tempting, America, but i’ll pass. No one ever accused our nuclear lobbies of being underfunded, but Jesus Oppenheimer Christ, that’s an all-American machination to make Machiavelli look like Minnie Pearl. Just imagining the vast buffet of unintentional irony (and radiation) waiting for me at the trailhead of that little “monument” has me tucking in my lead-lined lobster bib.
It’s a shame i’m still coddling my thyroids too much to actually visit this cathedral of cogdis, because damn, i could hate-visit the shit out of that place. But as it stands, the mere act of living in Chicago already keeps me flush with more rads than i need to catch a dose of the world’s top death-disease — i just found out that the woods where i’ve been mushroom hunting for the past two years is where they quietly, sloppily buried the world’s first nuclear reactor. (The cynical among you may now speculate as to why this area is presently the least-developed and greenest area in Chicagoland.)
And it’s not like you need to unwittingly visit a nebulous Manhattan Project footnote to get your dose of DNA-destruction; many random houses in the Chicago suburbs are presently gamma-ray-a-go-go (whether the owners know it or not). And lard forbid you should live anywhere near St. Louis, at all, ever.
To paraphrase one of the more popular maxims in this disgusting, depressing, downward-spiralling daymare of a country: You can take my dosimeter when you pry it from my hot, tumor-ridden fingers.